Singapore — Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who visited the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) on Friday (Jan 31), said afterwards that he was very happy with what he saw and glad for the opportunity to personally thank the staff for their work during the current Wuhan virus outbreak.
Mr Lee told the media that the Government had been preparing for such an outbreak, ever since Sars affected thousands of people worldwide. “Because we knew that one day something like that would happen again.”
For him, the Wuhan virus outbreak was “a shock, but not a surprise”.
When the multi-ministry task force to address the Wuhan virus outbreak was brought together, the Prime Minister was in Davos for the World Economic Form.
On his return, he said, he wanted to have a look at the preparations and facilities for the outbreak but, most of all, he wanted to see the people, “the teams who are working day and night” to look after the patients, or even the suspected patients of the virus, tracking the people who have come into Singapore, “making sure we have a coordinated response to this new coronavirus … which the WHO has recognised has become an international emergency”.
He lauded the efforts of the health workers in tracking down those who had been exposed to the illness.
Doctors had told him that the patients were generally doing well and he said that this was good news. He added, however, that he had called for continued vigilance since the outbreak was far from over.
In fact, he said, the sickness may still be accelerating in its country of origin, China, and that it was not known what may happen in the rest of the world.
“You don’t know how the countries will be able to react, detect, contain…, and it can become a major problem for the world for a long time to come.”
Mr Lee said the public seemed to be well informed regarding the virus, with over a million people signing up on the Government’s WhatsApp chat group.
“So we are doing everything that we can. I think there is every reason to be watchful, but there is also every reason to be confident, and for each of us to do our part, to be sensible.”
Mr Lee mentioned the general tips on hand hygiene and urged those who were unwell to avoid crowds and stay at home. He added that those who are not sick do not need a mask, since there is no community spread of the virus. “If you are well, go about your life as normal,” he said.
“I am very happy with what I saw this morning … More than a thousand are working at NCID, the ICA staff, the other hospitals, and all over the ministries, the SAF and the PA who will be distributing the masks this weekend.”
“I think that if we work together,” the Prime Minster said, “we can overcome this challenge. I have every confidence of that.” -/TISG
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